15 June 2023
Motoring offences: sentencing guidelines published
A package of 12 new and revised sentencing guidelines for offenders convicted of motoring offences in England and Wales was published today by the independent Sentencing Council following consultation.
The Council has revised six of its existing guidelines to take into account new maximum sentences introduced for some of the offences by the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 (PCSC Act).
These offences include causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving when under the influence of alcohol or drugs, for which the maximum sentences were increased by the Act from 14 years to life.
The Council has also developed three guidelines for offences of ‘causing injury by driving’. These offences were created since the existing Sentencing Guidelines Council motoring guidelines. The offences are causing serious injury by dangerous driving, causing serious injury by driving while disqualified, and the recently introduced offence of causing serious injury by careless driving.
Other new guidelines include causing injury by wanton or furious driving, which can be used where a cyclist causes death or injury, and driving or attempting to drive with a specified drug above the specified limit.
Sentencing Council Chairman, Lord Justice William Davis, said:
“Offences committed by drivers can have serious consequences for the victims, including death or life-changing injuries and this is reflected in recent legislative changes made by Parliament. The guidelines published today will provide judges and magistrates with up-to-date guidelines that cover the full range of these offences.”
The new guidelines, which apply to adult offenders, will come into force on 1 July 2023.
Notes to editors
1. The full list of revised guidelines is shown below:
- causing death by dangerous driving,
- causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs,
- causing death by careless driving,
- causing death by driving whilst disqualified,
- causing death by driving whilst unlicensed or uninsured, and
- dangerous driving.
2. The full list of new guidelines is shown below:
- causing serious injury by dangerous driving,
- causing serious injury by driving whilst disqualified,
- causing serious injury by careless driving (a new offence created by the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022),
- causing injury by wanton or furious driving,
- driving or attempting to drive with a specified drug above the specified limit,
- being in charge of a motor vehicle with a specified drug above the specified limit.
3. Sentencing guidelines must be followed, unless the court is satisfied that it would be contrary to the interest of justice to do so in all the circumstances of a particular case.
4. Guidelines set sentencing ranges within the maximum for the offence as set out in legislation.
5. The Sentencing Council was established by Parliament to be an independent body, but accountable to Parliament for its work which is scrutinised by the Justice Select Committee. Justice Ministers are accountable to Parliament for the Sentencing Council’s effectiveness and efficiency, for its use of public funds and for protecting its independence. Judicial Council members are appointed by the Lord Chief Justice with the agreement of the Lord Chancellor. Non-judicial council members are appointed by the Lord Chancellor with the agreement of the Lord Chief Justice.
6. For more information, please contact Kathryn Montague, Sentencing Council Press Office, on 020 7071 5792 / 5788 / 07912301657 or email firstname.lastname@example.org